The new proposals to be published Wednesday by the European Council for Foreign relations go beyond labeling Israeli goods made in “settlements” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (for boycotting) – to include Israeli banks. Its boycott would cover bank loans and mortgages, qualifications earned in settlement institutions and the tax-exempt status of European charities that deal with Israeli settlements. Under European Commission guidelines from 2013, EU- and member-state-funded lending cannot be provided to Israeli businesses and individuals operating in the occupied territories.
And the report questions whether Europe should accept qualifications from academic, medical and other Israeli institutions based in the West Bank. Likewise, there is a question mark over whether the EU should be dealing with Israeli institutions – such as the Ministry of Justice and the national police headquarters – which are based in East Jerusalem.
The Israeli government has described Europe’s steps on labeling as discriminatory and wrong-headed, suggesting they are akin to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which Israel regards as anti-Semitic. News of the report’s publication caused Tel Aviv Stock Exchange banking stocks to fall 2-2.5 pc.